Outcome of nursing home-acquired pneumonia: derivation and application of a practical model to predict 30 day mortality

B J Naughton, J M Mylotte, A Tayara
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2000, 48 (10): 1292-9

OBJECTIVES: To derive a prediction model of 30 day mortality for nursing home-acquired pneumonia (NHAP) based on factors that can be readily identified by nursing home staff at the time of diagnosis and to apply the model to management issues related to NHAP including clarifying the importance of prepneumonia functional status as a predictor of outcome of NHAP.

DESIGN: This was a retrospective chart review of 378 episodes of NHAP treated in the nursing home or hospital during two periods: November 1997 to April 1998 and November 1998 to April 1999.

SETTING: Eleven nursing homes in the greater Buffalo, NY region.

PARTICIPANTS: Nursing home residents with radiographically proven pneumonia who had at least one of the following signs/symptoms: cough, fever, purulent sputum, respiratory rate > or =25 breaths/minute, localized auscultatory findings, or pleuritic pain.

MEASUREMENTS: Status (alive or dead) of each resident at 30 days (30 day mortality) after diagnosis of NHAP was the dependent variable. Factors predicting 30 day mortality were identified by logistic regression analysis. A scoring system was developed based on the results of the logistic model. Each episode of NHAP in the derivation cohort was scored using the model and the cohort was stratified by the model score into six categories or risk for mortality (0-5). The predictability of the model in the derivation cohort was measured using receiver operator characteristics curve analysis.

RESULTS: Of 378 episodes of NHAP, 74% were treated initially in the nursing home and 26% were hospitalized initially for treatment. The overall 30 day mortality was 21.4%; however, the mortality rate was significantly higher for those treated initially in the hospital (29.6% vs 16.6%; P = .012). Logistic regression analysis identified four predictors of 30 day mortality: (1) respiratory rate >30 breaths/minute (2 points), (2) pulse > 125 beats/minute (1 point), (3) altered mental status (1 point), and (4) a history of dementia (1 point). Applying the scoring system to each episode in the derivation cohort demonstrated increasing mortality with increasing score. The c statistic for the model in the derivation cohort was .74. Based on the severity of NHAP, model episodes treated initially in the hospital were more acutely ill than those who were treated initially in the nursing home, and episodes treated with a parenteral antibiotic in the nursing home were more acutely ill than those who were treated with an oral agent. Functional status was not a predictor of 30 day mortality although there was a trend of higher mortality in the most dependent group (P = .065). The severity of NHAP model was able to define low and high risk mortality groups within a functional status category.

CONCLUSIONS: A severity of NHAP model was derived from a large cohort of episodes in multiple facilities. The model had reasonable discriminatory power in the derivation cohort. The model may aid clinicians in making treatment decisions in the nursing home setting and in making hospitalization decisions. Although prepneumonia functional status provides a reasonable estimate of NHAP severity and prognosis, the severity of NHAP model permitted further refinement of these estimates. The severity of NHAP model requires validation before it can be recommended for general use.

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